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What is Intelligent Lighting?

Intelligent lighting systems in the broadest sense is the use, or control, of lighting beyond a manual on/off switch. Installed either permanently or temporarily in a building, a complex set of instructions can be carried out by the press of a button. Variable scenes, sequences, or lighting states, are recalled by a programmable controller.

To give an example of this, if a large restaurant has many light fittings in the building, they may be installed in different rooms or in ceilings or wall fixtures. Traditionally, in order to turn these on, you would require a large number of light switches placed either centrally or around the rooms. An Intelligent lighting system could replace all of these switches for one touchscreen to control everything.

Old fashioned lighting switch panel which can now be replaced by modern intelligent lighting systems
Modern intelligent lighting touch screen control pane displaying company logo

With traditional light switches installed around a building, members of staff, or even the public have access to switches without knowing what they do. This can cause certain lights to be turned on or off at incorrect times. For example, outdoor floods could be coming on in the daytime costing a fortune, or plunging another room into darkness which can be a health and safety risk.

By using intelligent lighting systems this could all be automated or programmed to happen with timers and operated from a touchscreen away from the public.

Setting the Scene with Intelligent Lighting

Continuing with the restaurant analogy, you may wish to create a certain look for a seasonal theme night such as Halloween, Valentines Day or Christmas. Or you may wish to set a daytime theme for a busy bustling lunch slot and then turn the venue into a moody night scene in the evening. This can be automated to happen at certain times during the day or by you pressing a button.

Setting a daytime scene at Spencers On The Square in Retford using intelligent lighting systems controlled from a touchscreen behind the bar.

By working with Intelligent lighting designers like EES Showhire our clients can produce consistent looks in their building, day in and day out.

But intelligent lighting does not have to stop there, with many of the products available on today’s market, it is possible to integrate with other systems in a building. Central heating or audio systems for example can be controlled to change parameters when you select a lighting scene. A volume in a zone may drop when you select evening mode for instance. This can be made so, for any number of situations.

Can I integrate Intelligent lighting systems with my current lighting?

Fitting Intelligent lighting systems into an existing building, where conventional light switches are used, can be more challenging than a newly wired system. But, by working with specialists like us at EES Showhire, it is possible to turn any conventional system into something very special.

How do intelligent lighting systems work?

Intelligent lighting systems use computer controlled switches to turn lights on and off around a building and send commands to smart fittings which change their colours. This is done using a control network, similar to the Ethernet, that many buildings already have fitted. In some cases it is also possible to use existing Ethernet cables to control this new system.

Switches communicate with a programmable central controller that will hold all the complex commands needed to control items around the building. This controller will execute these commands from a single push of a button, mobile phone app or any number of other environmental devices such as occupancy sensors or door opening sensors.

What this means is, in addition to being able to set a scene for any given time of day, or any day of the week, the system can also react to situations when required like as evening draws in more lights can be turned on or dimmed as may be required.

With further integration into other systems in a building, it can also help to make a building safe in the event of an emergency, just imagine your restaurant is lit in soft warm colours for evening service then the fire alarm goes off. In a traditional lighting situation, the building could be harder to navigate and evacuation may be more difficult if not lit clearly. However, with systems integrated together, when the alarm goes off the building will change lighting state to a brightly lit building to ensure all your customers can leave the building safely. This can also happen with your security alarm system. So if a sensor is triggered by an intruder, all the lights turn on to scare them away.

More Complex Systems Lighting System Considerations

Intelligent lighting systems may also be used to make more complex systems easier to use for everyday, non technical end users. Say a village hall, or school hall, is used everyday as a normal hall, for assembly or parish meetings. But at the end of the hall is a stage, with theatrical lighting controlled by DMX and a lighting console. Or maybe there is a lighting grid in the ceiling for when the hall is used by customers for a party or disco. Complicated stage or disco lighting is used for productions and normally controlled by specialist lighting desk which most people would not know how to use. But by integrating an intelligent system with the theatrical system, we are able to give end users access to some of the specialist theatrical and smart functions of these types of lights from a single button press on a wall panel or touch screen.

This makes the versatility of the function space much greater and allows these venues and halls a greater range of uses, increasing potential customer revenue.

Completed installation

In the above school hall, we installed a full theatre style lighting rig above the stage and gave them a Zero 88 FLX lighting control desk for it.  But also tied the system into a touchscreen that can be used day to day, which incidentally also controls the projector screen.

Take a look at some of the previous work with lighting we have undertaken in these case studies.

Spencers On The Square Retford High End Restaurant

The Fernwood School Academy Wollaton Nottingham

Kinema In The Woods Woodhall Spa

Gabriels Bar And Restaurant

Saving you time and money with intelligent lighting

One of the major advantages of intelligent lighting systems is the ability to save both time and money, business owners would rather spend their days running there businesses than having to worry about turning off lighting or other electrical items to save money. These systems can effectively manage this for you by ensuring that unoccupied rooms are not lit. Also ensuring that all the building lights are turned off when leaving for the evening. We can set it so that outdoor security or vanity lights are left on whilst internal lights are turned off at a given time. Its also possible to set up a last person out option, this will ensure that just the correct number of lights remain lit for long enough to allow someone to leave the building safely before all the lights are turned off in sequence behind them as they exit.

Contact us for a free quote regarding your automation project or lighting install